My female constituents, stand together and defend your better taste in #beer!

“Best Beers for Women to Order”

This video was posted on www.womensforum.com, and was brought to my attention via a forum post on beeradvocate.com written by member Higy.  The video, both in subject and delivery, annoyed me to the point that I won’t even touch upon the fact that I am citing a source named Higy.  Jesus, if that doesn’t wreak of an inside-joke frat nickname.  Anyway, I’m getting distracted…on to the video dissection!

“I’m gravitating towards this pretty, red one…”
First off, the premise of your video is a female consumer walking into a new beer bar, picking up a beer menu, and not knowing what to order.  I have lots of issues with this in so many different ways, but let’s make the easy tackles, because I tend to be on the lazy side (as most of you can likely discern from my frequency of posts here).  One, the beer menus in beer bars do not have pictures, so the fact that you are “gravitating towards” the lambic does nothing towards helping those venturing into uncharted territories.  Also, beer bars, in general, do not have glassware full of all of their beer offerings like a dessert plate at the Olive Garden that gets wheeled around to choose from.  Now, I have been around some folks that will look around an establishment and find something that looks “yummy”, at which point they will order that, but drinks aren’t always good to judge by looks alone.  My money would be on this particular person being a martini/cosmo type person, which would lead to her being drawn to the raspberry lambic.  Am I assuming and/or stereotyping?  Of course I am…that’s the basis for the article I’m bitching about, so turnabout is the most fair play I can think of.

“I can even smell the raspberries…”
No shit.  You can smell them so much that it makes your eyes cross, eh?  Please.  I pity the significant other that has to endure your ‘faking’ through other aspects in life.  The best explanation for the raspberry smell jumping out at you may be attributed to suggestion.  Now, don’t get me wrong, lambics can be ungodly fragrant, almost to the point of sugary sweetness, but on the flipside, there is a reason judges at beer competitions drink from unlabeled vessels.  The power of suggestion is a bitch.  If I say raspberries fifteen times while describing a beer to you, there is a hell of a chance that any fruit characteristics will seem like raspberry to you.  Of course, that thing looked like a liquid ruby, and chances are there was an “odeur de framboise” spreading out from that glass like a creepy mist in a Stephen King story.

“Women tend to gravitate towards the sweeter beers…”
So do diabetics, dick.  I know that my circle is nowhere near large enough to make generalizations, however I am married to someone who prefers Russian Imperial Stouts to anything, although retains the ability to appreciate the DIPAs, IPAs, and other monsters that I sometimes drink.  She does draw the line at Sours and Farmhouse styles, though.  And in that vein, I have a female friend who has developed a penchant for Sours, Farmhouse, and funky Belgian brews.  To spread this anecdotal cross-section a bit further, I’ve volunteered two years in a row at the American Craft Beer Festival in Boston, hosted by BeerAdvocate and Harpoon Brewery, and I can tell you that all of the females do not ‘gravitate’ towards the lambics or all-pale brews, and there aren’t any ciders at the fest.  More on the cider part in a bit, but I’m getting ahead of myself…

“Lambics could also be very high, somewhere between 6 and 10%…”
Having moved on to the Belgian beer, our fearless leader in this journey of misleading stereotypes and gross generalizations reports on certain ranges of the styles of beer.  Belgians tend to have more fermentable sugar, leading to higher ABVs.  Okay, true in some instances, but there are Belgian styles coming out as sessionable ales, meaning ABVs are less than 5%. On the flipside, I have seen Quads as high as 25% ABV (although rare, but there are a couple out there).  Lambics, on the other hand, are more often lower in ABV, with some as low as 2%.  Bottom line, don’t start quoting numbers because styles are not solely based on their alcohol content.  Sessionability is an adjective.

“…and now we have ciders…”
And just when I started to worry this post was getting long-winded, we fall upon something that is not, in fact, a beer.  The title of the video is “Best Beers for Women to Order,” and the key word there is BEER.  This is along the lines of saying “…and next on the list of best cars for teens is a motorcycle…” Not going to fly.  Apples and oranges, my friend (not cider apples, either, and we’ll get to those damn oranges).

“…what about when I see the oranges…”
And now you have completely lost me.  There is a debate ongoing in the beer community regarding garnish with beer.  Some feel that the finished product (beer) should be consumed as-is, sans orange wedge/cinnamon-sugar rim/etc.  Others state that some brewers intend for the garnish to be part of the beer drinking experience.  I tend to side with the former…keep the fruit/sugar/shit out of my beer.

“…what, maybe, I can order…”
The joy of this country is that you can order whatever you want, darlin’.  Just because someone tells you “this is what most women order” doesn’t mean you have to do the same, nor does it mean that he/she is correct in that statement.  Make your own choice, build your own palate, and buck the stereotypes.

This blog entry was not an excuse to post pics of women drinking beer (although it appears to have turned into that rather hastily). It was written in defense of all of those I know whom have taken the time and effort to develop their tastes in craft beer.  Also, I wanted to let those new to the craft world know that any path they choose may be correct. People should choose their own way, sometimes with the aide of others, but never to be forced into a pigeon-holed box of norms.  Bottom line, to those new and old in the world of craft beer, drink educated my friends.

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